Melbourne NRL coach Craig Bellamy is expecting a Newcastle outfit ready to bleed for their new mentor Danny Buderus.
The Storm host the Knights on Monday night at AAMI Park with their top-four finals hopes again on the line.
The Knights clawed back a win against Wests Tigers last round for Buderus to notch his first victory since taking over as interim coach from the sacked Rick Stone at the end of July.
Bellamy said he could see the excitement among the Newcastle players and Buderus and, despite sitting 15th compared to the fifth-placed Storm, he predicted they would arrive in Melbourne with their tails up.
He said the former NSW State of Origin captain was inspirational as a player and would have the same impact as their coach.
“I know Danny Buderus really well and I know those guys will be really playing for him at the moment and keen to do well for him,” Bellamy said.
“He has played with all those guys, they know what a good person and good player he is, but he bled for Newcastle so I’m sure they will be looking to bleed for him and the club as well.
“We saw how excited he was after a win last weekend. Hopefully, he won’t be that excited on Monday night.”
The Storm also have reason to be excited after thumping fellow finals hopeful Cronulla 30-2 away from home.
Bellamy said the performance had given his team a much-needed confidence boost and he challenged them to find some consistency in their effort and execution.
He praised their improved defensive performance.
“I’ve been a bit frustrated with our defence at different times throughout the year but, to defend like that and keep the Sharks tryless after the last eight or nine weeks they’ve had, it’s good for the confidence.”
They will go into the Knights match without hard-working lock Dale Finucane, who suffered a dislocated wrist late in their win over Cronulla.
He’s expected to miss four to six weeks, putting his hopes of playing finals on the line.
“I think he will struggle (for first week of finals) judging by the medical reports,” Bellamy said.
“It was a dislocated wrist. You don’t get too many of them and, if they could have got it back in straight away, it wouldn’t have done too much damage but they had to put him under to get it back in and had to cut it.
“It’s not a good injury.”